Aug 7, 2022
The mother of a local 5-year-old boy who died tragically last month in an apparent murder/assault is speaking out. In an interview with KTLA, Sogui Godinez said more could have been done by authorities, and that the death of her son could potentially have been avoided if police, social workers, and family court judges took action.
Authorities discovered Godinez’s son, Mason Reyes, unconscious in a bathtub of an East Hollywood apartment on July 25. He was rushed to a local hospital but died later that day. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office and several media outlets confirmed that Reyes had injuries to his face at the time of death.
Darwin Reyes, the biological father of Mason, was charged with murder last month in connection with his son’s death. Reyes faces one count each of murder and assault on a child causing death, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. The child’s grandfather, Guadalupe Reyes, who lived in the same apartment building, confirmed to local NBC 4 that Darwin had custody of the boy. Darwin reportedly lived with his current girlfriend, Mason, and two little girls who weren’t home when the boy died.
Speaking with KTLA, Sogui Godinez said Mason’s death could have been prevented, adding that the system which is supposed to protect children failed her as well as her little boy.
Godinez also told KTLA that she reported Darwin Reyes’ violent behavior towards her and their son “numerous times” over the last several years. Godinez said that Reyes would often strike and choke her, in addition to hurting mason with physical violence.
“I spoke to one of the social workers. He came to a visit one time with his fingers burned,” Godinez told KTLA.
Godinez acknowledged her past battles with alcohol and drug abuse to KTLA, telling the news outlet that after splitting up with Mason’s father years after their son was born, the court gave Darwin Reyes full custody of the child.
“LAPD failed him. The department failed him. I failed him. I feel like I could’ve done more,” Godinez said to KTLA. “What could possibly a child do to you to make you hurt him in that way you know? He needs love.”
The day before Mason was discovered unconscious in an East Hollywood apartment bathtub, Godinez told KTLA she was supposed to meet her son at a local McDonald’s. But during a phone conversation with Darwin Reyes that day, she told KTLA that she could hear the man beating her son.
“Like the phone fell or something, you know, and Mason was like pleading, begging, ‘No Papi! No Papi!’ I called 911 and reported that I had heard him beating my child over the phone,” Godinez said to KTLA.
Mason’s mother told KTLA that after she called 911, police came to Darwin Reyes’ apartment and ultimately determined that despite the reports of abuse, no injuries were found.
Mason Reyes was dead just hours later, Godinez told KTLA.
“Too many kids are dying, some that we don’t even hear of. And this is going to keep on happening if nothing is done,” she said.
Additionally, Godinez told KTLA that her “troubled background may be a reason her cries for help were ignored,” but she vows to continue fighting for her son.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help raise money for Mason Reyes’ funeral.
The death of 5-year-old Mason Reyes is sadly one of countless examples of children who die as a result of abuse.
In 2019, 4-year-old Noah Castro died after an apparent drowning. But an investigation later revealed that Castro’s death was actually due to severe physical and sexual abuse. Noah’s parents, Jose Maria Cuatro Jr., 28, and Ursula Elaine Juarez, 26, were indicted on the following charges:
In July 2020, Noah Cuatro’s great-grandmother, Eva Hernandez, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit on behalf of herself and Noah’s sister and two brothers (all of whom are minors). According to the complaint, Hathaway-Sycamores – the agency where Noah was sent by the County’s DCFS – knew of or suspected the abuse occurring in the boy’s home and failed to properly report the issue.
When negligence or harm on the part of an individual or entity cause a tragic fatality, a wrongful death lawsuit can be brought by eligible surviving family members. A wrongful death lawsuit can be a means of recovering financial compensation for various damages, such as:
In California, punitive damages may be awarded in wrongful death cases, but only in instances of serious or malicious wrongdoing.
In rare cases, punitive damages can be claimed through what is known under California law as a “survival action.” A survival cause of action is only applicable in cases where the decedent did not immediately die from his or her injuries. In such cases, even if the decedent lived only a short period of time between the accident and eventual death, a survival cause of action may be appropriate.
Dordulian Law Group pursues punitive damages, which are not capped in the state of California, on behalf of clients in all applicable wrongful death clients.
Contact a Dordulian Law Group (DLG) wrongful death lawyer today at 818-322-4056 for a free consultation. DLG was founded by Sam Dordulian, a former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County. Through more than 25 years of experience, Dordulian has obtained over 100 jury trial victories and helped countless victims secure justice through maximum financial compensation. To date, DLG has successfully recovered more than $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts while maintaining a near-perfect 98% success record.
You have nothing to lose by reaching out to a DLG wrongful death lawyer today. Filing a wrongful death claim can help ensure that you and/or your family’s rights are protected. With DLG’s experienced wrongful death lawyers, there is never any obligation or upfront fee, and you do not pay a penny until we successfully recover a maximum financial damages award for your claim.
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and personal injury concerns.